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Serving 60 Schools in 2012
VAB has developed innovative programs to address the challenges facing poor students in rural Bangladesh. VAB supports students from pre-school to graduate school, with special emphasis on high school. The map above shows just a few of the 60 schools where VAB is currently active.
VAB’s preschool program is aimed at children of impoverished families who would otherwise not be in school at all. Besides education and play, kids receive a nutritious snack each day. The results are promising as most students graduate after one year and get admission to Grade One or Two at local primary schools.
Grade Six Testing / Tutoring
High drop out and failure rates occurring in high school can be linked to lower scores beginning in Grade Six. To address this, VAB begins tutoring students in Grade Six.
High School Scholarship Program
This is VAB’s oldest and most established program. The scholarship program enables children from poor families to get high school education and also prevents them from dropping out. The VAB High School Scholarship Program operates in 60 schools throughout the country. At each school, 20 meritorious students are selected to receive VAB Scholarships. Scholarships include provision of textbooks, exercise books, educational materials, exam and tuition fees, and school uniforms. As all the scholarship inputs are supplied directly to the relevant recipients. No cash is given to the students or guardians.
In 2005, VAB instituted a limited scholarship program for the promising high school students with outstanding final exam scores to enter college. This scholarship includes college admission fees, textbooks, tuition, and science equipment. In 2008, VAB provided 201 college scholarships at the annual cost of $150 per student.
School Improvement Program
Just keeping students in the schools to complete Grade 10 and pass the SSC exam does not guarantee a quality education. Many rural schools do not have adequate facilities to offer a quality education. VAB’s School Improvement Program provides the schools with computers, books, science equipment, and sports and cultural equipment. A total of 15 schools have received these awards.
Teacher Training Program
Training teachers probably has the greatest impact on improving the quality of rural education. VAB’s training makes teachers more effective and confident by introducing new teaching methods and reviewing the most recent national curriculum. VAB provides a three-day training session to teachers, which include a content-curriculum training for Math and English, the two subjects students have the most trouble with on the national SSC exam. Training is also provided in science subjects, computer teaching, and accounting. So far, a total of 400 teachers have received this training.
SSC Tutoring Program
The SSC exam is as important as the SATs in the United States. VAB tutors poor rural students in VAB schools for the national SSC Exam. Tutoring improves the performance of all students who qualify to take the SSC Exam in Grade Ten and thereby improves the overall standing of the schools. As English and Math are considered the major hurdles in the SSC exams, VAB focuses on these subjects.
Volunteers Training Program
VAB relies heavily on volunteers to implement its educational programs. About 30 motivated volunteer interns operated and monitored VAB programs. They are recruited from universities and colleges in Dhaka. VAB provides them with a real-life experience in rural Bangladesh. After 2 days of training in practical research methods, interviewing techniques, accounting procedures, and a day of fieldwork, each intern is assigned one or two schools for a year. Interns monitor and research the education progress of scholarship holders and of the schools in general and distribute equipment and funds. Internship in VAB has proven to be valuable addition to the resume of volunteers.
Emergency Programs 2000-2007
In addition to above education and computer literacy activities VAB supports ad-hoc activities in response to natural disasters. During hurricane Sidr, for example, VAB leveraged its donor base to raise funds on behalf of relief activities.
In 2004 VAB’s New Jersey Chapter launched the Computer Literacy Program (CLP) to help underprivileged youths learn basic computer skills. CLP operates computer centers with at least four computers and two trained instructors. By March 2009, there were 83 centers in 35 districts of Bangladesh. To date, CLP has produced 200 trained instructors and over 15,000 trained students who have had 40 hours of intensive computer instruction. Of these 48% are female students.
The program’s success has attracted Microsoft Southeast Asia. CLP’s affiliate in Bangladesh, D.Net, has been entrusted by Microsoft to implement its “CLICK” (Community for Learning Information, Communication) Program at 13 rural locations. CLICK centers provide Internet communication and job training with advanced computer skills.
Click here to visit the CLP website.